Demand for more sporting stadiums

AFL Barwon regional manager Edward Wilson. (Louisa Jones) 411107_06

AFL Barwon and the Member for Bellarine are calling for more sporting venues across the Barwon South West to meet the growing participant demand.

The Greater Geelong local government area’s population increased by 2.2 per cent in 2023 as 6208 more people moved to the region, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released early this year.

AFL Barwon regional manager Edward Wilson said the demand for sporting facilities increased as the number of football and netball participants grew.

“When it comes to delivering competitions that cater for the community, it is becoming more challenging when your resourcing gets stretched across multiple sites,” he said.

“The netball competitions that we run on a Tuesday and Friday night have grown so significantly in the last two years that we’ve expanded from hosting that at just one venue.

“We’ve now expanded to three venues with the likelihood that we might use four venues for this upcoming summer season, as across both the winter and summer seasons, we’re hitting capacity.”

Mr Wilson said more projects were needed to help meet the demand, such as the proposed Armstrong Creek indoor sports stadium that recently received $6 million in the federal budget.

“Whether that’s football or netball or a different sport, being able to provide opportunities, that’s what is the best part or way that we can cater for our community,” he said.

“When you’re turning people away from a sport at any age, but especially when they’re juniors and children, it creates a challenging situation where it’s not what you want to do.

“We do have some do have some great community assets at the moment, but for the future, any developments that work in line with supporting our population and participant growth, the better.”

Member for Bellarine Alison Marchant said she had asked the City of Greater Geelong to apply for the state government’s Regional Community Sport Infrastructure Fund to support new facilities on the Bellarine.

“The Geelong Indoor Recreation Facilities Strategy, which has been undertaken by the City of Greater Geelong, has shown there is increasing demand for more basketball facilities,” she said.

“I have met with the Bellarine Basketball Association, Basketball Victoria and heard from local basketball clubs to further understand the needs of growing basketball community on the Bellarine.”

Mr Wilson said it was important to continue to have good conversations with different tiers of government and sporting entities.

“I’m pleased that a proactive approach is taking place, but we do have a status quo at the moment where the demand outweighs the supply,” he said.

“We need to ensure that we all collectively are getting the most out of our facilities but utilising them in ways that they provide opportunities for everyone.”